Angela Veronica Wong is the author of the full-length how to survive a hotel fire (Coconut Books) and the chapbook Dear Johnny, In Your Last Letter, a winner of the Poetry Society of America New York Fellowship. Her poetry has been anthologized in The Best American Poetry (with Amy Lawless) and Please Excuse This Poem. Her fiction has appeared in Denver Quarterly. She is on the internet at angelaveronicawong.com. Her Black Radish title elsa, the story of a fictional mistress of Louis XV in sonnets, was published June 2017. Copies of elsa are available through SPD.
Elsa Is Involved in a Clandestine Love Affair at Poets.org’s Poem-a-Day
Advance Praise for elsa
Elsa is someone you can talk to. She knows more than you perhaps might want her to, about you and about herself and about the world, and she cannot possibly hold that knowing back. Yet, she also defies a confining comprehension, positioning herself as eyewitness to all manner of feminine constructions and destructions. Elsa is an irresistible storyteller, willing co-conspirator, sly everywoman and, most importantly, the perfect confidante – the revealer and the keeper of mysteries both individual and cultural. Angela Veronica Wong writes ELSA as a dual universe in textual miniature, with vulnerability and strength balancing expertly on the same psychological precipice: “Elsa, / when everything’s a secret one can’t tell / if things are said in warning or said / with hope. Maybe you will know the difference.” —Khadijah Queen, author of Black Peculiar
I’ll be keeping Elsa close. Angela Veronica Wong just gave me a map for navigating this phallocentric universe; it’s a map without a destination, no route or path. Instead these poems trace the secret detours most women will recognize as ones they’ve already taken and ones they might end up taking in one way or the other. It isn’t that Elsa is a universal woman; it is the concretized world and its empires and margins she trips into and over that make it seem that you already know her. You’ll find she seems to know you too. You pass by her and you both wink. —Sarah Sharma, Associate Professor University of Toronto Director of the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology
Angela Veronica Wong infuses this very intense series of sonnets by restlessly changing tone, critiques, and language. Each poem pokes at a different nerve, and I can’t help but get invested in Elsa’s hijinks. While Wong narrates, “Elsa, everything is dark and getting/ even darker,” there are moments of humor and lightness, of intimacy as well. In short lines one after another, this impeccably constructed book layers critique with interrogation and sincerity. Heavy in implication, our fictional Elsa leaps from the page, walks around our world, and gives us raucous glimpses into hers. —Carmen Gimenez Smith